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November 17, 2023

Started as a traffic stop – woman now facing 20 years to life in prison

The District Attorney’s office reported today (November 17, 2023) that on Wednesday (November 15, 2023), a six-person jury took under 7 minutes to deliberate and render a guilty verdict against Precious Hicks, age 31 and of Virginia, for possessing with intent to distribute methamphetamine and possessing amphetamine.

In January of 2023, a St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s deputy with the Highway Enforcement Unit observed a vehicle on I-12 “tailgating” the vehicle in front of it, prompting the deputy to conduct a traffic stop. The deputy made contact with the occupants of the vehicle. Hicks was identified as the driver and Hick’s boyfriend was found to be a passenger. The deputy requested Hicks produce her driver’s license but she could not produce one. While interacting with Hicks, the deputy noted an odor of marijuana emanating from the vehicle. 

After an additional officer arrived on the scene, a search was conducted and marijuana was found in the vehicle and in the possession of each occupant. Additionally, several amphetamine pills were discovered in Hick’s purse. Deputies also observed four boxes of Fruity Pebbles cereal, some loose Fruity Pebbles dumped into a grocery bag and several opened packages of super glue on the back seat of the vehicle. These items drew the attention of the deputies and they noticed the boxes of cereal were heavier than they should be and showed signs of tampering. When the boxes were opened, they were found to contain suspected MDMA pills in a variety of colors, shapes and imprints. 

On the scene, both Hicks and her passenger initially denied any knowledge about the pills. However, during a formal police interview, they both admitted they had purchased the pills while in Texas and they intended on selling them. Once all the evidence was fully processed, it was determined the boxes of cereal contained a total of 7,886 pills (with a total weight of approximately 4.79 pounds).

At this week’s trial, the defendant’s boyfriend testified and claimed Hicks knew nothing about the pills in the vehicle. In closing arguments at the conclusion of the trial, Assistant District Attorney Tiffany Dover told the jury, “We know the defendant had knowledge of the pills inside of the vehicle because she told police she did. She even told police how much she paid for the pills – thousands of pills designed to look like candy.”

Because the defendant is a multiple offender with a history of firearm, assault, larceny, fraud, forgery and prostitution convictions, she faces 20 years to life in prison when sentenced,  scheduled for January 10, 2024.

The case was presided over by District Judge Vincent Lobello and prosecuted by Assistant District Attorneys Tiffany Dover and Amanda Gritten. Detectives James Kelley and Sean Gowan of the St. Tammany Sheriff’s Office Highway Enforcement Unity and Britney Graham of the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office Crime Laboratory handled the investigation and testified at the trial.

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